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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

17 Mar 06. USN receives armed Predators. Two MQ-9A armed UAVs were delivered to the USN in December * The drones were not delivered in the Mariner configuration
(Source: Jane’s Defence Weekly)

28 Mar 06. QinetiQ developed antenna extends UAV reach. QinetiQ’s antenna affixed to a helicopter; a low-cost, effective solution that meets with MOD approval. A lightweight, high performance and exceptionally robust experimental antenna that enabled a helicopter to receive imagery at ‘operationally useful ranges’ directly from a UAV – in this case a Boeing ScanEagle – has been developed by QinetiQ and was flight trialled in March at the Hebrides range, which QinetiQ operates for the MOD.

22 Mar 06. It is almost four years since the Indian Navy had acquired UAVs to boost up surveillance, which is still to deploy them inviting serious censure by the Comptroller and Auditor General. “Twelve UAVs purchased at a cost of $128.86m in the wake of Kargil Review Committee recommendations could not be utilized due to injudicious selection of operational sites and inability of the Navy to complete infrastructure facilities in time for their operations,” the CAG said in its latest report on Air Force and Navy tabled in Parliament. The report said, “Audit scrutiny revealed that the infrastructure for deployment of the UAV was not created at the proposed strategic site.” It further added that it took four years for acquisition of land, soil testing and preparation for estimates at the deployment site. Though the UAVs were delivered between December 2002 and March 2004, sanction for works at deployment site was issued only in March 2005, the report said. (Source: Shephard)

16 Mar 06. Boeing and a team of university scientists have completed a highly successful multi-year research program to develop and demonstrate cutting edge flight control technologies that dramatically enhance the autonomous operations of advanced UAVs. The autonomous flight control technologies were developed under the Software Enabled Control (SEC) program sponsored by DARPA with technical direction from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). During flight demonstrations, the last of which took place on Feb. 23 before U.S. Department of Defense and NASA observers at Victorville, Calif., the SEC software assumed control of a DARPA Renegade rotorcraft UAV and successfully executed a series of advanced maneuvers. (Source: Shephard)

27 Mar 06. The U.S. unmanned aerial systems (UAS) market has had considerable momentum due to recent operational successes and increasing mission roles. In addition, UAS market penetration in all four military services and the commercial sectors in surveillance and weaponized capabilities are driving growth. “On the operational side, UA systems have received praise and support across several services and ranks,” remarks Senior Industry Analyst Kathy Ellwood. “Testimonies have been documented from many levels regarding the benefits of UA systems in theaters. In fact, those accolades are usually followed by the desire for the delivery of more systems.” (Source: Shephard)

26 Mar 06. Kraft TeleRobotics to provide HROV manipulator. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has contracted Kraft TeleRobotics to design and build a custom engineered manipulator arm for their Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle (HROV). With a depth capability of 11000 meters, HROV will be the first truly cost-effective undersea vehicle system capable of performing meaningful science in the most inaccessible regions on earth. Man and machine have traveled to the very bottom of the ocean, more than 36,000 feet beneath the surface, only a few times. Once in 1960 when Jacques Piccard dove to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the U.S. Navy submersible Trieste, a remarkable feat, and some 35 years later when the Japanese deep diving ROV “Kaiko” successfully completed several dives to the ocean’s greatest depth. Both events represent a great technological a

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